25 June, 2022


Racism In ‘Harry Potter’

Poet Rachel Rostad has zeroed in on some inconvenient truths for Harry Potter fans, namely that J.K. Rowling managed to create a fantastical universe crammed full of exotic, magical creatures while still marginalizing and fetishizing people of color. It’s really a stunning achievement, when one considers just how robust the world of Harry Potter is, that Rowling could manage to fuck up the last name of her only Chinese character, since “Cho Chang,” Rostad points out, is an amalgamation of two Korean last names, and to come upon a Chinese person named Cho Chang would be like finding “a Frenchman named García Sánchez.” Burn.

Though naming Chinese character “Chang” may be slightly less egregious than she says it is (in a conscientious response to the original poem, Rostad explains how she glossed over some of the nuances of Chinese naming in order to streamline the “García Sánchez” punchline), Rostad has a point. It’s unlikely that her criticisms about, say, the manner in which Dumbledore was outed after all seven books were released will prevent most people from professing their undying adoration for Harry Potter, but her takedown may raise at least a few eyebrows.

Courtesy http://jezebel.com

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Latest comments

  • 4

    Poet Rachel Rostad is shrill and incoherent. She is upset that the Chinese character in Harry Potter is badly named. This young girl has discovered that racism exists in the world.

    Perhaps she forgets that J K Rowling is targeting English Children with a story with a English background in the English Language. England is country that is 91% white and is the home of English culture. I don’t think JKR expected her books to be read by kids all over the world. I think she did her bit including minorities in her stories. One would have to find fault with the likes of Lewis Carrol, R L Stevenson, Han Christian Anderson etc etc for not giving minorities fair representation.

    She may not know but literature, even children’s, coming from the Middle Kingdom is full of stereo-typing and racially derogatory terms. There are many ‘foreign devils’ in their writings.

    This kid is obviously mixed. Sometimes when you are mixed you feel that you don’t belong in any group and therefore subjected to taunts from a early age giving way to anger.

    Hopefully she gets over it.

    • 0

      My thoughts exactly

  • 0

    “a Frenchman named García Sánchez.””

    Or a Chinese named Rachel Rostad.

    • 0

      Exactly! Its perfectly possible to be Frenchman named Garcia Sanchez. Rajasinham Narendran, Javed Yusuf, K A Sumanansekara and David Blacker are all SRI LANKAN names!

  • 0

    I am not acquainted with Rachel Rostad but her Anglo/Germanic name does not automatically go with her facial features. As Bedrock Barney points out, names and nationalities may not SEEM to go together.

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